5 Practical Solutions to Engage Salespeople in the Learning Process (Part 2)

Too often, programs take a black-and-white view, training salespeople as if programming robots.

Many traditional sales trainings don’t account for salespeople’s emotions. Too often, programs take a black-and-white view, training salespeople as if programming robots. By addressing the worries and concerns salespeople may have or those that may arise during the training process, the sales training will be much more effective.

Here are four key issues with potential solutions to ensure salespeople remain happy and motivated.

  1. Absence of sessions supporting salespeople’s emotional state.

Problem

Salespeople don’t think sales managers and sales coaches really understand their feelings and emotions. This creates a psychological barrier.

Salespeople face many internal problems. for example, very often salespeople are not able to realize their own role in sales, and this leads to constant complaints on their part, which could help explain why the plan was not able to be carried out. Always being on the front line with customers also can leave salespeople in a permanent state of stress.

Solution

Knowing the reasons for the discomfort and stress in a sales role, a training session can be designed with the help of professional psychologists and sales trainers and provided to resolve their issues. Some useful topics include:

  • The importance of the sales role and its value within the company as a whole
  • How to avoid negative professional attitudes
  • How to get out of victim mode as a salesperson
  • Fighting against internal resistance and controlling emotions
  • Moving from aspiration to success
  • Finding creative inspiration
  • Creating a personal (not business) success plan

Developing the ability to safeguard against professional stress will help salespeople make the required improvements and changes. This will act as a catalyst to making further transformative steps in their development, along with a wish to be more successful and ambitious.

  1. Participants have not decided on their own initiative to receive additional knowledge or to make changes to their business activities, so they perceive training as an additional source of stress.

Problem

Corporate training could be perceived psychologically as another measure of pressure from management with the end of achieving sales results. Any external pressure is always perceived negatively by people.

Solution 1

Create programs where we talk frequently about the position of the salesperson, their problems, their role in the company’s sales, their values, and their dreams. Participation in hands-on sessions and in the joint creation of corporate sales tools offers salespeople assessment of their knowledge and demonstrates that the company appreciates their direct participation in the training course. This relieves the resulting tension between participants and provides a higher expression of loyalty to the company.

Solution 2

The “Magic Ball”

After handing out a magic ball, each salesperson takes it and thinks about their own motivation to be here and do their job. They think out about their dreams and visualize them within. After two to three minutes, they are ready.

This ball becomes associated with their new knowledge as a part of the way to achieve their dreams. The ball is kept on office tables and used:

  • Like a memory cue to use the practical tools created during the sessions
  • Like an internal motivation, which helps to keep energy up and combat stress

This exercise increases internal motivation. The memory cue represents both a practical tool and trust, showing salespeople that the trainers are on the same side. This psychological cue demonstrates a positive effect and is a good way to begin reprogramming the mind for change.

  1. Lack of commitment by the salesperson to the company to apply knowledge and/or increase sales results.

Problem

The participant does not feel responsible to the company for investments in his or her development. Managers are not able to control how the knowledge from the training course is applied.

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, only 10 percent of people have what is called “the learning mindset”: people who both look for and enjoy the learning process. The other 90 percent of people will not seek to improve their skills unless it is part of their job requirements.

Solution

Practical tools developed during the training course could be incorporated by the manager into an agreement that this knowledge, new techniques, or scripts, etc., be used during their everyday job. Some of the points could be part of the job description for new job requirements.

  1. Subsequent loss of motivation to implement changes in work and use knowledge in practice.

Problem

The lack of an external motivating incentive to memorize and apply course material.

How to turn today’s intention to change our behavior in work into real actions of tomorrow? What stimulates us?

  • We act on what we remember, not what we forget. If we don’t have a systematic way of getting others to remember what’s important, we need to rediscover the formula for success every day.
  • Memory, emotions, and motivation are affected by the presence, absence, or termination of rewarding or punishing stimuli.

Solution

  1. All the practical materials of the course should be transferred to company management for their control in daily practice.
  2. The trainer should provide the CORE MEANING of the course to sales management in order to acquaint them with the knowledge the sales team got from the last sales course. Coach sales management for the regular use of this new sales knowledge from the course, connecting it with daily communication with the salespeople.

Emotions often can remain hidden in the workplace, and, unfortunately, it all too often has evaded traditional sales teaching courses, as well. Organizations that recognize the importance of attending to salespeople’s emotional state and take steps to resolve any underlying issues can make a big shift in productivity.

To read Part 1 of this series, visit: https://trainingmag.com/changing-sales-training-methodology-part-1/ 

Natalia Kutkovich, BSc, MBA, has more than 20 years’ experience in sales and marketing. She has been instrumental in achieving multimillion euro sales increases over her career. In 2014, Kutkovich became a certified Sales Trainer and she now works as Training director of Sales Progress (Barcelona, Spain) where she designs, implements, and manages innovative sales training techniques for businesses across Europe.

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